Cochlear makes $77.7m H1 profit

Hearing implants maker Cochlear has made a first-half net profit of $77.7 million after a record six months of sales.

The company said its net profit for the six months to December 31 rose to $77.7 million, compared to a $20.4 million loss in the previous corresponding period when it was forced to issue a costly mass recall of its bionic ear products.

Chief executive Dr Chris Roberts said the improved result was due to the healthcare company selling a record 13,672 cochlear implants during the six months.

"Cochlear implant sales grew 27 per cent on the previous corresponding period and 11 per cent on the second half of fiscal 2012, confirming our market leadership position," he said.

However, despite the improved profit result, Cochlear's shares were $2.75, or 3.4 per cent, lower at $77.71 at 1023 AEDT.

Total revenue for the half was up one per cent to $391.7 million, and the company said it will pay an interim dividend of $1.25 per share, 40 per cent fully franked, to shareholders on March 12.

Dr Roberts said Cochlear's earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) remained flat at $108.3 million despite difficult conditions.

"Importantly we maintained our EBIT margin at 28 per cent despite challenges such as the ongoing appreciation of the Australian dollar," he said.

Cochlear said it had ensured the company's long term growth through technical partnerships, a growing global footprint, sound financials and a leading market share.

The company has also developed the Australian Hearing Hub at Macquarie University.

"These strengths along with our ongoing investments in R&D and the clinical trends driving implant demand for people of all ages, give Cochlear great confidence in the company's long-term, sustainable growth prospects," the company said.

Cochlear released a number of new products during the half, such as an implant with a straight electrode in Korea, Japan and India and a new part for its Baha systems which significantly reduces surgery times.

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